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Engaging indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea
Issues: Papua New Guinea, a poor third world nation, has not fared too well over the past 15 years or so in containing the epidemic which is rated as the 4th worst in the Asia Pacific Region, threatens to decimate the working age population by up to 40% and cut GDP by nearly to 20%. Despite millions of dollars expended on prevention programs the epidemic is increasing unabated at an annual rate of around 30%. The issue to be considered here is “why is the epidemic increasing unabated despite the vast sums of monies and international expertise?”
Description: The Humanity Foundation Incorporated Indigenous communities BCC project at the slums of Tete and 5 Mile Ridge and the indigenous villages of Hanuabada, Tatana and Korobosea, with support from UNAIDS and UNICEF has been implemented over the past 12 months and has highlighted important considerations when engaging indigenous communities in poor countries.
Lessons learned: Human Rights, Poverty, Unemployment and Crime/Security must be concurrently addressed with HIV/AIDS prevention in order for the effective implementation of a response strategy in poor countries as these factors create an environment that does not promote behavior change and maintenance but infact fuels the spread of the epidemic. In tandem, the local communities must be empowered to increase their self esteem through poverty reduction strategies and self esteem building exercise so as to value life enough to be weary of HIV/AIDS.
Recommendations: Governments, Donor Agencies, NGOs must stop being territorial and stop competing against each other but instead mainstream or harmonize their resources and efforts to allow Human Rights, Poverty, Unemployment and Crime/Security to be addressed together with HIV/AIDS hence reflect the needs of the indigenous communities. Indigenous communities must also be allowed to actively participate in the design of interventions and maintain a direct linkage between their communities and government/donor/NGO agencies.
AIDS 2006 – XVI International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. THPE0537
” N. Ariku Engaging indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea. : AIDS 2006 – XVI International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. THPE0537″